Is the Kafala Tradition to Blame for the Exploitative Work Conditions in the Arab-Gulf Countries?

  • Radhika Kanchana


The Arab-Gulf states continue to maintain their infamous status over decades, concerning the pervasive mistreatment of the migrant workers significant in their local populations. Critics largely blame the Islamic kafala custom, widely practiced in the region despite its unofficial nature. The sponsorship system essentially renders the migrant to be dependent entirely on the citizen-employer’s “protection”. This chapter explores the kafala in its historical and geographical application to understand the specific implication of its usage in the Gulf region. It briefly narrates how the migrants in the region experience the kafala and then explores the varied versions of the kafala for different purposes, concluding that the Gulf states have institutionalized the tradition for the latitude it permits them to control the foreigner.


Kafala or sponsorship Islamic tradition Policy to control foreigner 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Radhika Kanchana
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre de Recherches Internationals (CERI)-Science PoParisFrance

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